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Towards practical quantum cryptography.

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The information society that presides today is dependent on the communication industry to facilitate unintelligible data transfers between authenticated parties. Such requirements have, to date, taken advantage of security based on the mathematical complexities of certain algorithms. However, the advancement of computing power and the advent of the quantum computer together with the vulnerability of this scheme to mathematical progress have prompted the introduction of quantum cryptography. This process, through the laws of quantum physics, ensures provably secure data communication. Quantum cryptography provides physical protection to individual bits of information thus providing a hardware implemented solution. The implementation of this theoretical concept requires much practical innovation for transparent deployment into current cryptographic solutions. This thesis introduces the concept of quantum cryptography in a practical perspective. It raises a few core concerns with the present quantum cryptographic technology and provides some solutions towards the practical deployment of commercially feasible quantum cryptographic systems. The thesis commences with an introduction to classical cryptography focussing on key management protocols. This is followed by the presentation of the basic concepts of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) together with an explanation of some QKD protocols and parameter required to classify such protocols. Chapter 2 discusses the theoretical and practical aspects of quantum channels in particular optical fibre. The primary challenges of transferring classical and quantum data along these channels are mentioned together with some solutions. A description of experimental usage with present QKD solutions is presented in Chapter 3. An investigation into highly efficient QKD protocols follows illustrating effective post-distribution processing for increasing the efficiency of the BB84 protocol. Chapter 4 begins with the limitations of present day QKD systems and explicates Quantum Networks as a possible solution. An introduction to classical networking theory is first presented after which some quantum network architectures based on passive optical networks are illustrated. Finally the proposed Quantum City project in conjunction with the eThekwini Municipality is explained. The realization of this project is intended to be complete by the third quarter of 2008 effectively making Durban into the first Quantum City in the world.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, 2009.


Mathematics--Cryptography., Theses--Physics.